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Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old May 15th, 2015, 04:12 PM   #1
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Filming duration

Just a general question here. I have been filming weddings on my Sony EX3 and Canon XF 305 without any problem. I am now thinking about using my Panasonic GH4 and/or a Nikon D750. Just for lightweight shooting. The only problem is that both cameras only have a 29min recording time (UK).

My question is, how do you get around the problem of recording the full ceremony, or do you just cut some of the Hymns out and then restart the camera for the next 29min. Most other shots are not a problem as I know they will be just short clips - snapshots etc.

Lastly, how much video do you actually give to the couple, I have been giving one hour of edited video, plus a 5 minute overview that they can share on YouTube etc.
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Old May 15th, 2015, 05:43 PM   #2
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Re: Filming duration

Easiest way to film (and edit) with two DSLRs:

-- Designate one camera the main coverage cam. So, for ceremony, this might be placed in the aisle. Make it wide and locked off. Most of the time, you're operating this camera, unless things are static enough for you to move to the other.
-- Designate the other camera cutaway cam.
-- Record audio separately.

So, as long as you have the separate audio recording and the main coverage camera, you'll have a billion cutaways to be able to cover the gap (presumably of only a few seconds) when you stop/start recording. In the edit, you just lay the cutaway track on top of the main coverage track, maybe multicam them, or else just skip through and cut and delete/disable without necessarily watching in real time.

Same approach can be taken for other formal parts of the day -- speeches, bridal waltz.

If you shot in 4K using this technique, as some people do, that also gives you a variety of possible additional angles when you zoom in in post.

As soon as you add a third camera, let alone a fourth, fifth, sixth, you start to enter diminishing returns for effort. Yes, your production value goes up, but so does your editing time, data management, setup and packup time... Just having three cameras slows down your editing a fair bit, because now you've got two tracks to look through for good moments instead of one.

How much to give to couple? I think you'll find that most people supply 60-120 minute DVDs; maybe 90 is average for all-day shooting and a traditional "long version" video. But it's worth saying that this may vary a lot between videographers, and between cultures: eg, two-hour Indian wedding ceremony, let alone all the other events that might happen during the day, so it's not possible to supply just a 60-minute video; or possible expectation in some cultures, like Serbian, for 6-hour DVDs.

I don't promise a specific length, but always give them formalities in full, so my videos can vary depending on how long the ceremony is, how long speeches go for, how much general dancing goes into it, etc. Usually 60-90 minutes. In some ways, it's easier to supply in full than to have two or three hours of formalities and have to choose which parts to include/exclude. Plus, you're guaranteed to make them happier if you supply formalities in full -- they can't complain about things missing. Whether supplying longer videos adds to editing time depends on how much you're flicking back and forth between cameras, or whether you're relying on one main coverage cam for the most part.
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Old May 15th, 2015, 07:14 PM   #3
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Re: Filming duration

Hi Vincent

I don't shoot on DSLR (video anyway) but I still prefer to limit my clips to under 20 minutes just for ease of editing and it's easily done without using fancy software that resets the camera or dual cameras. Just stop where convenient!!

The longest ceremony is usually the Catholic one and I get a nice chance to stop start the camera after readings and again after the homily and before register signing which gives you 3 breaks and splits the ceremony into 4 anyway. If you do need the "moment" where the couple gets up and walks to the altar to start their vows then just stick an action cam on a light stand so you have a continuous wide shot of everything.

How long?? How long is a piece of string ..civil ceremonies can be 15 minutes ..Full mass can be over an hour .. Speeches can be 10 minutes or over an hour so I guess it depends on who says what that determines the length of your video. Mine on average are between an 60 - 100 minutes and a 8-10 minute shortened ceremony online and their highlight of the day I try to keep to 8 minutes for it fits neatly onto a LCD video albums without having to extend memory.

Chris
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Old May 15th, 2015, 08:49 PM   #4
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Re: Filming duration

The simple answer is to stagger the start times just enough to allow you to move between cameras, and "double tap" the record button sometime between 20 and 29 minutes during a lull in the festivities. You lose a couple seconds to start/stop, and when shooting multicam it adds a tiny bit to aligning clips, which depending on your skill level in syncing is likely insignificant.

There is a decent argument for a single (4K if possible, to allow re-framing) video camera for a "safety" you can always count on to cut to, but depending on your style and the number of cams you run, with a little concentration the clip length limit shouldn't be a big issue.

As far as deliverables... cultural considerations aside, you always want to give the audience something that's watchable if you can... too long, and it drags, too short and you may have left our some good material - such is the curse of the editor!
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Old May 15th, 2015, 09:30 PM   #5
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Re: Filming duration

Agreed Dave

That's why I supply a double DVD set of the whole day to them and I would suspect they will watch it just once and toss it in the cupboard and maybe blow the dust out many years later for the kids.

My watchables are the highlights on USB that they can play on some TV's that support MP4 video or on their laptops but the high usage is still the LCD album as it has the same highlight video and 8 minutes is usually all that friends and potential new brides want to see and THAT's what I want them to show around too so being easily portable and being able to slip into a purse means my work to brides planning a wedding gets shown around which is what I want them to do. It's highly unlikely that a bride will invite a bunch of unmarried friends to sit thru 100 minutes of video but they are more than happy to take a quick look at a highlight which shows off all your work and most importantly gets you clients!

We are probably "obliged" to provide a video of the entire day whether they watch it or not ..that's what they hire us to do but careful planning in giving out stuff that is more likely to be shared around to a bigger audience for me is far more important as it gets me new business.

Chris
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Old May 16th, 2015, 02:15 AM   #6
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Re: Filming duration

For Ceremony and Speeches, I use 3-4 cameras for small churches and venues, 4-5 for larger churches and venues. I love variety in my shots and angles. Only 2 of those cameras have a clip limit and both are with me or close by. I would never have all my cameras with a clip limit. Churches can be very restrictive in allowing movement during the service, and if I'm at the back and negotiated unmanned cameras at the front behind the vicar, he'd not take kindly even during hymns to reset the record. Looks a tad odd too. 'Sorry vicar, my cameras have a 29 minute clip limit; may I pass and press record.' Plus occasionally I have a camera on a balcony and reaching it can sometimes be as in one Wedding, up a ladder and through a trap door.

No I prefer some cameras to just record unattended leaving me free to capture good moments even during the hymns.

In terms of video length, my shortest was 65 minutes, my longest 2 hours 40 minutes. Depends on Ceremony and Speech length and any other events of the day like singing waiters. I also supply a 30 minute version plus a Highlights video too for the web, so they're well covered. The long version is there to be a full record of the day and the shorter videos something they'll actually watch in the future.
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Old May 16th, 2015, 03:21 AM   #7
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Re: Filming duration

The GH4 has a good wireless interface. You can control it from a tablet or smartphone so even if it's a locked off unattended camera you can restart & only lose a few seconds of the ceremony.
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Old May 16th, 2015, 04:49 AM   #8
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Re: Filming duration

The easiest way to get more than 29 minutes continuous is to use a video camera. I normally use two video cameras and a GoPro during the ceremony. and two cameras for the speeches and dance. Sometimes a DSLR for close shots depending on space, but as I usually work solo a maximum of 3 cameras.

As Steve says, length of time for a doc video is dictated by the ceremony length and the speeches, but typically 60-120 minutes.

Roger
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Old May 16th, 2015, 06:38 AM   #9
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Re: Filming duration

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Gunkel View Post
The easiest way to get more than 29 minutes continuous is to use a video camera.

Roger
But that's just so dull and predictable. Like drawing with crayons as opposed to painting with water colours. To each his own but DSLR and interchangeable lens is for me. Damn clip limit withstanding. :)
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Old May 16th, 2015, 10:05 AM   #10
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Re: Filming duration

Thank you all for such a valuable insight into your shooting methods. I have yet to use the GH4 and D750 on a wedding, but will do so on the next one, with the back up of either the Sony EX3 or Canon XF305. Probably as a locked off camera.

I had been giving DVDs of 60- 75 min duration, not had any requests for longer times. However, I have had several couples ask for the entire shoot on DVD. This I give to them in an un-edited mode (dropping out the unusable ones due to moving camera etc.) and I add a TIMECODE overlay at the bottom of the screen. Then I leave it up to the couple to give me the exact IN and Out times that they want - never had anyone come back with a re-edit request - yet!
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Old May 16th, 2015, 10:24 AM   #11
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Re: Filming duration

Isn't that double work? Why not just give the bride your work as you have edited it?? If you send her the video with timecode and she says fine then you have to render the whole thing again without timecode as a final product.

The fact that brides are happy with your edit tells me that you should give them the first copy as a final copy since they all like it!
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Old May 16th, 2015, 11:39 AM   #12
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Re: Filming duration

Yes it is double the work. I give them a fully edited version and if they request the entire shoot then I give that to them on another DVD with timecode embedded, any subsequent edits are charged as an extra. Maybe I should also charge them for the full contents DVD.

I have only been asked for this on two or three weddings, one was because the grandmother died and the couple just wanted to see any extra footage that may have included her.
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Old May 16th, 2015, 10:10 PM   #13
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Re: Filming duration

Hi Vincent

My long form has everything I have shot (unless I screwed up of course) ..I find it best to give them everything you did on the day ... the highlight video is the one the bride will use most as even a bride doesn't get the urge to sit down for an hour once a week to watch her wedding when she can rather watch a high lights clip.

To me the DVD is the record of the day only and actually giving them a "proof" copy is telling them ... "I know this isn't very good so I want you to pick out all the bad bits/unwanted bits and I do it all over for you"

In the old days I used to give the bride a proof DVD first and until one bride decided she was a budding editor and arrived with the disk and 8 full typed pages of changes I stopped doing proofs.

I have never had a bride tell me " this is wrong and that is wrong" so my edit is my final delivery and it sounds from your experiences that you do a pretty good edit and brides are happy so don't put the time code in ..just do the edit and call that the final full version and save a heap of time!!

Chris
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Old May 16th, 2015, 10:21 PM   #14
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Re: Filming duration

Ok, on the subject of long clips I did a Catholic ceremony yesterday on my Sony EA-50's which do unlimited edits but for convenience I do restart the camera so my clips are in convenient chunks ... Clip one was from before bride entry, opening prayer, candle ceremony and the two readings. I stopped when the readers went back to their seats and restarted and then the second clip was the priest doing the Gospel and his homily, The 3rd clip ran after he had finished and called the couple to do their vows (plenty of time to do a restart) and then I actually stopped the camera after the vows/blessing when they went to sign the register ..final clip was from after the register presenting the couple and their exit. (The signing was obviously caught on 2nd cam)

None of the 4 clips exceeded more than 15 minutes so that's well within the clip limit of a GH4 .. If you break at those points the 4 clips edit together very nicely with no hassles. So that's just under an hour ceremony which a GH4 would handle easily!!
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Old May 17th, 2015, 03:16 AM   #15
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Re: Filming duration

AFAIK it's only GH4 PAL models in Europe that have the time limit. Models from other PAL countries e.g. Hong Kong or Australia don't have the 30 minute limit. If you source your camera from one of those countries then it won't have the time limit.
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